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List of presidents of France

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The President of France is the head of state of France. The first officeholder is considered to be Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte, who was elected in 1848 and provoked the 1851 self-coup to later proclaim himself Emperor of the French as Napoleon III. His coup, which proved popular as he sought the restoration of universal male suffrage previously abolished by the legislature, granted the newly-established Second Empire firm ground.

A republican regime was given way again in 1870 through the Third Republic, after the fall of Napoleon III. A 1962 referendum held under the Fifth Republic at the request of President Charles de Gaulle transferred the election of the President of France from an electoral college to a popular vote. Since then, ten presidential elections have taken place. The 25th and current officeholder has been Emmanuel Macron since 14 May 2017.

French First Republic (1792–1804)

National Convention

The National Convention (20 September 1792 – 26 October 1795) was led by the President of the National Convention; the presidency rotated fortnightly.

From 1793 the National Convention was dominated by its Committee of Public Safety, in which the leading figures were Georges Danton and then Maximilien Robespierre.


The Directory was officially led by a President, as stipulated by Article 141 of the Constitution of the Year III. An entirely ceremonial post, the first President was Rewbell who was chosen by lot on 2 November 1795. The Directors conducted their elections privately, with the presidency rotating every three months.[1] The last President was Gohier.[2]

The leading figure of the Directory was Paul Barras, the only Director to serve throughout the Directory.

Directors of the Directory (1 November 1795 – 10 November 1799)
Paul Barras Louis-Marie de La Révellière-Lépeaux Jean-François Rewbell Lazare Carnot Étienne-François Letourneur
Drawn by lot to be replaced,
1 Prairial year V (20 May 1797).
François Barthélemy
Barthélemy and Carnot proscribed and replaced after the
Coup of 18 Fructidor year V (4 September 1797).
Philippe-Antoine Merlin de Douai François de Neufchâteau
Drawn by lot to be replaced,
26 Floréal year VI (15 May 1798).
Jean-Baptiste Treilhard
Drawn by lot to be replaced,
27 Floréal year VII (16 May 1799).
Emmanuel-Joseph Sieyès
Compelled to resign,
30 Prairial year VII (18 June 1799).
Compelled to resign,
30 Prairial year VII (18 June 1799).
Election annulled as irregular,
29 Prairial year VII (17 June 1799).
Roger Ducos Jean-François-Auguste Moulin Louis-Jérôme Gohier
After the Coup of 18 Brumaire (9 November 1799), Barras, Ducos and Sieyès resigned.
Moulin and Gohier, refusing to resign, were arrested by General Moreau.


Provisional Consuls (10 November – 12 December 1799):

Consuls (12 December 1799 – 18 May 1804):

Napoléon Bonaparte proclaimed himself Emperor of the French in 1804, reigning as Emperor Napoleon I 1804–1814 (First French Empire) and 1815 (Hundred Days).

The monarchy was restored 1814–1815 and 1815–1830 (Bourbon Restoration); again 1830–1848 (July Monarchy).

French Second Republic (1848–1852)

President of the Provisional Government of the Republic

Executive Commission

Members of the Executive Commission (10 May 1848 – 24 June 1848):

Chief of the Executive Power

President of the Republic

Political parties


Portrait Name
Term of office;
Electoral mandates
Political party Ref.
Napoleón 3º (1865).jpg
Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte
20 December 1848 2 December 1852 Bonapartist [3]
Nephew of Napoléon I. Elected first President of the French Republic in the 1848 election against Louis-Eugène Cavaignac. He provoked the coup of 1851 and proclaimed himself Emperor in 1852. Henri Georges Boulay de la Meurthe, Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte's vice president, was the sole person to hold that office.

Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte proclaimed himself Emperor of the French in 1852, reigning as Emperor Napoleon III 1852–1870 (Second French Empire).

French Third Republic (1870–1940)

President of the Government of National Defense

Chief of the Executive Power

  • Adolphe Thiers (17 February 1871 – 30 August 1871); became President on 31 August 1871

Presidents of the Republic

Political parties

  Opportunist Republican
  Democratic Republican Alliance; Democratic Republican Party; Social and Republican Democratic Party; Democratic Alliance
  Radical-Socialist and Radical Republican Party

Portrait Name
Term of office Political party Ref.
Picture of Adolphe Thiers.jpg
Adolphe Thiers
31 August 1871 24 May 1873 Moderate Monarchist (Orléanist) [4]
Initially a moderate monarchist, named President of France following the adoption of the Rivet law, establishing provisional republican institutions. He became a supporter of the Third Republic during his term. He resigned in the face of hostility from the National Assembly, largely in favour of a return to the monarchy.
Patrice de Mac Mahon crop.jpg
Patrice de MacMahon,
Duke of Magenta

24 May 1873 30 January 1879 Monarchist (Legitimist) [5]
A Marshal of France, he was the only monarchist (and only Duke) to serve as President of the Third Republic. He resigned shortly after the republican victory in the January 1879 legislative election, following a previous republican victory in 1877, after his decision to dissolve the Chamber of Deputies. During his term, the Consitutional Laws of 1875 that served as the Constitution of the Third Republic were passed; he therefore became the first President under the constitutional settlement that would last until 1940.
The Government of Jules Armand Dufaure deputises during the interim (30 January 1879).
Portrait Jules Grévy (cropped 2).jpg
Jules Grévy
30 January 1879 2 December 1887 Opportunist Republican [6]
The first President of France to complete a full term, he was easily reelected in December 1885. He was nonetheless forced to resign, following an honours scandal in which his son-in-law was implicated.
The Government of Maurice Rouvier deputises during the interim (2–3 December 1887).
Marie Francois Sadi Carnot.jpg
Marie François Sadi Carnot
3 December 1887 25 June 1894 Opportunist Republican [7]
His term was marked by Boulangist unrest and the Panama scandals, as well as by diplomacy with Russia. †Assassinated (stabbed) by Sante Geronimo Caserio a few months before the end of his term, he is interred at the Panthéon.
The Government of Charles Dupuy deputises during the interim (25–27 June 1894).
Jean Casimir-Perier.jpg
Jean Casimir-Perier
27 June 1894 16 January 1895 Opportunist Republican [8]
Casimir-Perier's was the shortest presidential term: he resigned after six months and 20 days.
The Government of Charles Dupuy deputises during the interim (16–17 January 1895).
Felix Faure.jpg
Félix Faure
17 January 1895 16 February 1899 Opportunist Republican;
Progressive Republican
Pursued colonial expansion and ties with Russia. President during the Dreyfus affair. †Four years into his term he died of apoplexy at the Élysée Palace, allegedly during fellatio.
The Government of Charles Dupuy deputises during the interim (16–18 February 1899).
Emile Loubet.jpg
Émile Loubet
18 February 1899 18 February 1906 Democratic Republican Alliance [10]
During his seven-year term, the 1905 law on the Separation of the Churches and the State was adopted; only four Presidents of the Council succeeded to the Hôtel Matignon. He did not seek reelection at the end of his term.
Armand Fallières Paris.jpg
Armand Fallières
18 February 1906 18 February 1913 Democratic Republican Alliance;
then Democratic Republican Party
President during the Agadir Crisis, when French troops first occupied Morocco. He was a party to the Triple Entente, which he strengthened by diplomacy. Like his predecessor, he did not seek reelection.
Raymond Poincaré officiel (cropped).jpg
Raymond Poincaré
18 February 1913 18 February 1920 Democratic Republican Party;
then Democratic Republican Alliance
President during World War I. He subsequently served as President of the Council, 1922–1924 and 1926–1929.
Portrait officiel P. Deschanel.jpg
Paul Deschanel
18 February 1920 21 September 1920 Democratic Republican Alliance;
then Democratic Republican and Social Party
An intellectual elected to the Académie Française, he overcame the popular Georges Clemenceau, to general surprise, in the January 1920 election. He resigned after eight months due to health problems.
The Government of Alexandre Millerand deputises during the interim (21–23 September 1920).
Alexandre Millerand (cropped).jpg
Alexandre Millerand
23 September 1920 11 June 1924 Independent [14]
An "Independent Socialist" increasingly drawn to the right, he resigned after four years following the victory of the Cartel des Gauches in the 1924 legislative election.
The Government of Frédéric François-Marsal deputises during the interim (11–13 June 1924).
Gaston Doumergue 1924 crop.jpg
Gaston Doumergue
13 June 1924 13 June 1931 Radical-Socialist and Radical Republican Party [15]
The first Protestant President, he took a firm political stance against Germany and its resurgent nationalism. His seven-year term was marked by ministerial discontinuity.
Paul Doumer – portrait officiel.jpg
Paul Doumer
13 June 1931 7 May 1932 Independent [16]
Elected in the second round of the 1931 election, having displaced the pacifist Aristide Briand. †Assassinated (shot) by the mentally unstable Paul Gorguloff.
The Government of André Tardieu deputises during the interim (7–10 May 1932).
Albert Lebrun 1932 (2).jpg
Albert Lebrun
10 May 1932 11 July 1940
(de facto)
Democratic Alliance [17]
Reelected in 1939, his second term was interrupted de facto by the rise to power of Marshal Philippe Pétain.

The office of President of the French Republic did not exist from 1940 until 1947.

French State (1940–1944)

Chief of State

Provisional Government of the French Republic (1944–1946)

Chairmen of the Provisional Government

French Fourth Republic (1946–1958)


Political parties

  Socialist (SFIO)   Centre-right (CNIP)

Portrait Name
Term of office;
Electoral mandates
Political party Ref.
Portrait officiel Vincent Auriol.jpg
Vincent Auriol
16 January 1947 16 January 1954 French Section of the Workers' International [18]
First President of the Fourth Republic; his term was marked by the First Indochina War.
René Coty portrait officiel.jpg
René Coty
16 January 1954 8 January 1959 National Centre of Independents and Peasants [19]
Presidency marked by the Algerian War; appealed to Charles de Gaulle to resolve the May 1958 crisis. Following the promulgation of the Fifth Republic, he resigned after five years as President of France, giving way to De Gaulle.

French Fifth Republic (1958–present)


Political parties

  Socialist (PS)   Centrist (LREM)   Centre-right (CD; RI; PR ; UDF)   Gaullist (UNR; UDR)   Neo-Gaullist (RPR; UMP; LR)

Portrait Name
Term of office;
Electoral mandates
Political party Ref.
Bundesarchiv B 145 Bild-F010324-0002, Flughafen Köln-Bonn, Adenauer, de Gaulle-cropped.jpg
Charles de Gaulle
8 January 1959 28 April 1969 Union for the New Republic
(renamed Union of Democrats for the Fifth Republic in 1967)
1958, 1965
Leader of the Free French Forces, 1940–1944. President of the Provisional Government, 1944–1946. Appointed President of the Council by René Coty in May 1958, to resolve the crisis of the Algerian War. Supported by referendum, he adopted a new Constitution of France, thus founding the Fifth Republic. Easily elected to the presidency in the 1958 election by electoral college, he took office the following month; having modified the presidential election procedure in the 1962 referendum, he was reelected by universal suffrage in the 1965 election. Launched the Force de dissuasion in 1961. He signed the Élysée Treaty in 1963, building Franco-German cooperation, a key to European integration. In 1966, he withdrew France from NATO integrated military command and has American military personnel stationed on French soil sent home. Supported Quebec sovereignty. Having refused to step down during the crisis of May 1968, resigned following the failure of the 1969 referendum on regionalisation.
Alain Poher 1969.jpg
Alain Poher
28 April 1969 20 June 1969 Democratic Centre [21]
Interim President of France, as President of the Senate. Defeated by Georges Pompidou in the second round of the 1969 election.
Georges Pompidou 1969 (cropped).jpg
Georges Pompidou
20 June 1969 2 April 1974 Union of Democrats for the Republic [22]
Prime Minister under Charles de Gaulle, 1962–1968. Elected to the presidency in the 1969 election against centrist Alain Poher. Favoured European integration. Supported economic modernisation and industrialisation, most notably through the TGV high-speed rail project. Faced the 1973 oil crisis. †Died in office of Waldenström's macroglobulinemia, two years before the end of his term.
Alain Poher 1969.jpg
Alain Poher
2 April 1974 27 May 1974 Democratic Centre [21]
Interim President of France again, as President of the Senate. Did not stand against Valéry Giscard d'Estaing in the 1974 election.
Valéry Giscard d'Estaing (1975).jpg
Valéry Giscard d'Estaing
27 May 1974 21 May 1981 Independent Republicans (until 1977)
Republican Party (from 1977)
(within the Union for French Democracy from 1978)
Founder of the Independent Republicans and later the Union for French Democracy in his efforts to unify the centre-right, he served in several Gaullist governments. Narrowly elected in the 1974 election, he instigated numerous reforms, including the lowering of the age of civil majority from 21 to 18 and legalisation of abortion. He soon faced a global economic crisis and rising unemployment. Although the polls initially gave him a lead, he was defeated in the 1981 election by François Mitterrand, partly due to disunion within the right.
President Mitterand bij slotzitting Europa Congres Mitterand, kop, Bestanddeelnr 934-2444 (portrait crop).jpg
François Mitterrand
21 May 1981 17 May 1995 Socialist Party [24]
1981, 1988
Candidate of a united left-wing ticket in the 1965 election, he founded the Socialist Party in 1971. Having narrowly lost in 1974, he was finally elected in 1981. Mitterrand supervised a series of Great Works, the best known of which is the Louvre Pyramid. He instigated the abolition of the death penalty. After the right-wing victory in the 1986 legislative election, he named Jacques Chirac as Prime Minister, thus beginning the first cohabitation. Reelected in the 1988 election against Chirac, he was again forced to cohabit with Édouard Balladur following the 1993 legislative election. He retired in 1995 after the conclusion of his second term. He was the first left-wing President of the Fifth Republic; his presidential tenure was the longest of any French Republic.
Jacques Chirac (1997) (cropped).jpg
Jacques Chirac
17 May 1995 16 May 2007 Rally for the Republic (until 2002)
Union for a Popular Movement (from 2002)
1995, 2002
Prime Minister, 1974–1976; upon resignation, founded the Rally for the Republic. Eliminated in the first round of the 1981 election, he again served as Prime Minister, 1986–1988. Defeated in the 1988 election, he was elected in 1995. He engaged in social reforms to counter "social fracture". In 1997, he dissolved the National Assembly; a left-wing victory in the 1997 legislative election forced him to name Lionel Jospin Prime Minister for a five-year cohabitation. Presidential terms reduced from seven to five years after approval by referendum. In 2002, he was easily reelected against Jean-Marie Le Pen. Sent troops to Afghanistan, but opposed the Iraq War. Declined to seek a third term in 2007 and retired from political life.
Nicolas Sarkozy in 2010.jpg
Nicolas Sarkozy
(born 1955)
16 May 2007 15 May 2012 Union for a Popular Movement [26]
Served in numerous ministerial posts, 1993–1995 and 2002–2007. Easily elected to the leadership of the Union for a Popular Movement in 2004. Elected to the presidency in 2007, defeating Socialist Ségolène Royal. Soon after taking office, he introduced a new fiscal package and other laws to counter illegal immigration and recidivism. President of the Council of the EU in 2008, he defended the Treaty of Lisbon and mediated in the Russo-Georgian War; reintroduced France to NATO integrated military command; President of the G8 and G-20 in 2011. At national level, he had to deal with a financial crisis and its consequences. Following the 2008 constitutional reform, he became the first President of France since Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte to address the Versailles Congress on 22 June 2009. He introduced education and pension reforms. Sent troops to Libya (Operation Harmattan) in 2011. Narrowly defeated in the runoff of the 2012 election.
François Hollande - 2017 (27869823159) (cropped 2).jpg
François Hollande
(born 1954)
15 May 2012 14 May 2017 Socialist Party [27]
Served as First Secretary of the Socialist Party, 1997–2008 and President of the General Council of Corrèze, 2008–2012. The second left-wing President of the Fifth Republic. Elected in 2012, defeating Nicolas Sarkozy. Legalised same-sex marriage in 2013. Had the French Army intervene in Mali (Operation Serval), in the Central African Republic (Operation Sangaris) and against the Islamic State (Operation Chammal). Paris suffered Islamic terrorist attacks in January 2015 and November 2015, as well as Nice in July 2016. Hosted the 2015 UN Climate Change Conference. Did not seek reelection in the 2017 election, for which polls suggested his defeat in the first round.
Macron Digital Summit (cropped).jpg
Emmanuel Macron
(born 1977)
14 May 2017 La République En Marche!
Served as Élysée Deputy Secretary-General, 2012–2014 and Minister of the Economy, Industry and Digital Affairs, 2014–2016. Easily defeated Marine Le Pen in the 2017 election. Youngest President of France in history. Has encountered massive demonstrations since 2018 over his policy orientations and style of governance. Faced the COVID-19 pandemic.


Emmanuel MacronFrançois HollandeNicolas SarkozyJacques ChiracFrançois MitterrandValéry Giscard d'EstaingGeorges PompidouRené CotyLéon BlumVincent AuriolGeorges BidaultFélix GouinCharles de GaullePhilippe PétainAlbert LebrunPaul DoumerGaston DoumergueAlexandre MillerandPaul DeschanelRaymond PoincaréArmand FallièresÉmile LoubetFélix FaureJean Casimir-PerierMarie François Sadi CarnotJules GrévyPatrice de MacMahonAdolphe ThiersNapoleon III

1Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte was proclaimed Emperor on 2 December 1852, ending the French Second Republic, and his presidency.[citation needed]
2Adolphe Thiers previously served in the executive position of Chief of the Executive Power from 17 February 1871 until 30 August 1871, his presidency then beginning the following day on 31 August 1871.[citation needed]
3Philippe Pétain used the title Chief of the French State as opposed to President of France.[citation needed]
4-6The heads of state of the Provisional Government of the French Republic (1944-1946), with the exception of Léon Blum and Vincent Auriol, used the title Chairman rather than President. De Gaulle would later assume the title President as the head of state of the French Fifth Republic.[citation needed]
7-8Vincent Auriol served as the constituent head of state of France as President of the National Assembly from 31 January 1946 until 21 January 1947, but the title was superseded in its executive authority by that of Léon Blum as President of the Provisional Government on 16 December 1946. Auriol was soon after elected President of France himself on 16 January 1947.[citation needed]

Living former presidents

See also


  1. ^ Cheynet, Pierre-Dominique (2013). "France: Presidents of the Executive Directory: 1795-1799". Retrieved 16 November 2013.
  2. ^ Lefebvre & Soboul, p. 199.
  3. ^ "Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte (1808–1873)" (in French). Official website of the French Presidency. Retrieved 2 August 2010.
  4. ^ "Adolphe Thiers (1797–1877)" (in French). Official website of the French Presidency. Retrieved 2 August 2010.
  5. ^ "Patrice de Mac-Mahon (1808–1893)" (in French). Official website of the French Presidency. Retrieved 2 August 2010.
  6. ^ "Jules Grévy (1807–1891)" (in French). Official website of the French Presidency. Retrieved 2 August 2010.
  7. ^ "Marie-François-Sadi Carnot (1837–1894)" (in French). Official website of the French Presidency. Retrieved 2 August 2010.
  8. ^ "Jean Casimir-Perier (1847–1907)" (in French). Official website of the French Presidency. Retrieved 2 August 2010.
  9. ^ "Félix Faure (1841–1899)" (in French). Official website of the French Presidency. Retrieved 2 August 2010.
  10. ^ "Emile Loubet (1836–1929)" (in French). Official website of the French Presidency. Retrieved 2 August 2010.
  11. ^ "Armand Fallières (1841–1931)" (in French). Official website of the French Presidency. Retrieved 2 August 2010.
  12. ^ "Raymond Poincaré (1860–1934)" (in French). Official website of the French Presidency. Retrieved 2 August 2010.
  13. ^ "Paul Deschanel (1855–1922)" (in French). Official website of the French Presidency. Retrieved 2 August 2010.
  14. ^ "Alexandre Millerand (1859–1943)" (in French). Official website of the French Presidency. Retrieved 2 August 2010.
  15. ^ "Gaston Doumergue (1863–1937)" (in French). Official website of the French Presidency. Retrieved 2 August 2010.
  16. ^ "Paul Doumer (1857–1932)" (in French). Official website of the French Presidency. Retrieved 2 August 2010.
  17. ^ "Albert Lebrun (1871–1950)" (in French). Official website of the French Presidency. Retrieved 2 August 2010.
  18. ^ "Vincent Auriol (1884–1966)" (in French). Official website of the French Presidency. Retrieved 2 August 2010.
  19. ^ "René Coty (1882–1962)" (in French). Official website of the French Presidency. Retrieved 2 August 2010.
  20. ^ "Charles de Gaulle (1890–1970)" (in French). Official website of the French Presidency. Retrieved 2 August 2010.
  21. ^ a b "Alain Poher (1909–1996)" (in French). Official website of the French Presidency. Retrieved 2 August 2010.
  22. ^ "Georges Pompidou (1911–1974)" (in French). Official website of the French Presidency. Retrieved 2 August 2010.
  23. ^ "Valéry Giscard d'Estaing (1926)" (in French). Official website of the French Presidency. Retrieved 2 August 2010.
  24. ^ "François Mitterrand (1916–1996)" (in French). Official website of the French Presidency. Retrieved 2 August 2010.
  25. ^ "Jacques Chirac (1932)" (in French). Official website of the French Presidency. Retrieved 2 August 2010.
  26. ^ "Nicolas Sarkozy (1955)" (in French). Official website of the French Presidency. Retrieved 15 May 2012.
  27. ^ "Biographie officielle de François Hollande" [Official biography of François Hollande] (in French). Official website of the French Presidency. Retrieved 15 May 2012.
This page was last edited on 2 March 2021, at 09:33
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